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The awkward estate planning conversation

When it comes to the comfort level of family openness, every family is different. While some topics may be complete taboo or off limits to your family, other families may discuss them on a daily basis. Although this could be said for almost all conversations, none carry quite the same awkwardness as discussing your will. Just reading this, you're probably imagining the look on your children's faces when you tell them to sit down and spend the next hour discussing your death. However, as awkward as it may be, sometimes it just needs to be done, and if you're one of those people that likes to stay a step ahead, consider taking the awkwardness out of it.

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Depending on your situation, you may want to lay everything out for your family, so there is nothing left to question after you pass. If you have already made your arrangements and simply want to inform your loved ones of what they get (or don't get), you don't necessarily need to do it in person. If you are worried that a family meeting isn't the best way to breach the subject, an email or phone call may work just as well. Besides, for many people the subject isn't uncomfortable because it's sad. It's uncomfortable because they don't know how they are expected to react. Taking the reaction worry out of the equation can help you deliver your message without the awkwardness.

If you feel that you need to discuss your wishes and arrangements before you have a will written, approaching family members individually may make things easier. You might want to try meeting with your children, spouse and other loved ones one-on-one to see what they say. Often times, you will get more dialogue and honesty out of a private conversation than you ever would out of a group one. Meeting privately with family members also gives you a chance to connect with them and discuss the topic in a way that may help them understand your concerns.

Whether you choose to hold a family meeting, meet individually or not say anything at all, having a solid estate plan is always a good idea. For help with your estate arrangements or creating a will, consider speaking to a trusted estate planning attorney.

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